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Apple’s new IOS update, iOS 7.1, adds Apple CarPlay, as well as enabling how long Siri listens and automatically snapping HDR photos on the iPhone 5s. It’s the first major update to IOS 7, which was introduced to iPhones and iPads in June, 2013.

CarPlay provides direct access to iPhone/iPad functionality directly via the manufacturers in-car control system. You can control Siri with the car’s touchscreen, knobs, and buttons, access Music, Maps, Messages, and 3rd-party audio apps. It works by connecting a Lightning enabled iPhone to a CarPlay enabled vehicle.

Getting the update is easy. Go to Settings. Select General. And tap Software Update.

Arstechnica says iOS 7.1 runs on the iPhone 4, but there’s only so much Apple can do to optimize its software for old hardware.

The discontinuted iPhone 4 is also missing the same iOS 7 features that you didn’t get in the 7.0 release. That includes:

  • 3D Flyover or turn-by-turn navigation in Maps
  • Panorama mode or Filters in the Camera app (filters can still be applied after the fact in the Photos app)
  • AirPlay Mirroring
  • Siri
  • AirDrop

According to Arstechnica, iOS 7 is unlikely to run better on the iPhone 4 than it does in iOS 7.1. That’s not to say that the experience is great—even stepping up to an iPhone 4S would get you noticeable gains in performance and overall smoothness—but it’s better than it was, and it’s as good as it’s going to get.

Meanwhile, Apple is readying IOS 8, with an improved Maps application. Apple’s database for iOS Maps will be upgraded with enhanced data so it is more reliable, according to sources. Public transit support will also be included in iOS 8, using data acquired via acquisitions and various partnerships.

Apple is also working to integrate indoor mapping and enhanced car integration for future versions of iOS. Augmented reality functionality may leverage the iPhone’s compass hardware to visually see nearby points of interest.

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